By Donna M. Perry , Staff Writer
Lewiston Sun Journal news story
KIBBY TOWNSHIP – A Canadian energy company plans to apply for a permit to construct a $250 million to $300 million wind farm on two mountains in northern Franklin County, a company official said Tuesday.
TransCanada will file an application with Maine’s Land Use Regulation Commission within the next 30 days, the company’s project manager, Nick Di Domenico said.
“We have satisfied ourselves that is an appropriate site for wind power,” Di Domenico said.
In 2005, the company received approval from LURC to erect three meteorological towers to measure the wind and conducted other environmental studies, including on wetlands and bats, he said.
The project will be the second wind farm in Franklin County seeking LURC approval.
Maine Mountain Power LLC has proposed building 30 wind towers atop the Redington Pond Range and Black Nubble mountains in Redington Township, near Carrabassett Valley and about 35 miles to the southwest of Kibby Mountain by air.
The application to rezone about 1,000 acres to build the $130-million Redington farm, located about 4 miles west of the Sugarloaf ski resort, is already under LURC review.
TransCanada’s proposal is to install 44 turbines on 13.7 miles of ridge line on Kibby Mountain and Kibby Range in Kibby Township and a small portion of Skinner Township, located near the Somerset County line and just south of Quebec, Canada.
The company has an option on an easement owned by the Plum Creek Timber Co.
Its design shows the turbines on a southern ridge of Kibby Mountain and on a wishbone-shaped ridge of Kibby Range.
The proposed turbine heights will be 260 feet to the top of the hub where Federal Aviation Administration lighting would be located and an additional 150 feet to the tip of the blade. The overall height of each tower is 410 feet, based on company documents.
Access for the project would be via existing logging roads where possible, and siting for the additional access has been examined for elevation, ground conditions and environmental issues to ensure that roads result in the least cut and fill or other resource impacts, according to a summary of key environmental issues.
Techniques were identified in consultation with state agencies for design and construction of the roads that will minimize erosion potential and ensure that drainage patterns are maintained.
The road will not be paved or gated. Road travel surface to access the ridge lines will be about 20 feet and access between turbines by crawler cranes will require a road travel surface width of 34 feet.
A substation would be at the base of the ridge lines, from which about 29 miles of transmission lines would be constructed to connect with the Bigelow substation in Carrabassett Valley. The transmission line route has been selected with consideration of a range of potential interconnection points and routes to minimize potential visibility, natural resource impact, proximity to residences, and the number of landowners.
Most of the transmission line corridor property is actively managed forest, according to the company’s summary.
TransCanada plans to submit the application to LURC in late December or early January and seeks a public hearing on the project in the spring of 2007. If the project is approved, construction will be done over a two years with some turbines operating by the end of 2008 and the project complete in 2009, Di Domenico said.